Transforming India’s Tribal Eco-system
During these challenging times of COVID-19, providing livelihoods with safety of health to tribal people across the country has become even more paramount for TRIFED (Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited), the nodal agency working for tribal welfare and livelihoods.
With this aim in mind, TRIFED has been implementing several noteworthy initiatives for the empowerment of the tribals.
Among the most important initiatives is ensuring the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Minor Forest Produce (MFP) and the Van Dhan Vikas Yojana. The government has designed a holistic model of MFP-led Tribal Development and has put in place several schemes.
It may be noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared to establish 50,000 ‘Van Dhan Vikas Kendras’ in the tribal areas of the country to ensure the availability of primary processing and value addition for forest produce and to provide employment for tribals and increase tribal income. As per TRIFED, 33,360 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras, subsumed into 2224 VDVKCs of 300 forest dwellers each, have been sanctioned as of March 31, 2021. TRIFED states that a typical Van Dhan Vikas Kendra includes 20 tribal members. 15 such Van Dhan Vikas Kendras form 1 Van Dhan Vikas Kendra cluster. The Van Dhan Vikas Kendra Clusters will provide the Van Dhan Vikas Kendras economies of scale, livelihood and market-linkages, as well as entrepreneurship opportunities to Tribal forest gatherers in 23 states and 2 UTs in Prime Minister’s scheme of things.
TRIFED, over the past few years has revamped ‘Mechanism for Marketing of MFP through MSP & Development of Value Chain for MFP. That, in turn, has impacted the tribal ecosystem. Aided by government push, it has injected crores of rupees into the tribal economy.
The Van Dhan tribal start-ups have emerged as a source of employment generation for tribal gatherers and forest dwellers and tribal artisans. Especially during the pandemic, this plan has been a major boon for the marginalized.
Over the past 18 months, the Van Dhan Vikas Yojana has gained tremendous ground with its quick adoption and robust implementation aided by the state nodal and implementation agencies across India.
The North-East is leading the way with 80% of the established VDVKs. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh are other states where the scheme has been adopted with overwhelming results.
Moreover, one of the biggest outcomes of the scheme is that it has managed to create market linkages. Operations have begun in earnest across the country in these VDVKs. More than 500 varieties of products are being value-added, packaged and marketed from these VDVKs. These include a wide array of products ranging from fruit candy (amla, pineapple, wild apple, ginger, fig, tamarind), jam (pineapple, amla, plum), juice & squash (pineapple, amla, wild apple, plum, Burmese grapes), spices (dalchini, turmeric, ginger), pickles (bamboo shoot, king chilly), processed giloy, all of which have reached the market.
All this is in addition to 25,000 varieties of handlooms and handicrafts produced by Tribal clusters of the country. All these are being marketed on TribesIndia.com and through the 137 Tribes India outlets across the country.
According to Pravir Krishna, Managing Director of the TRIFED, “Be Vocal for Local Buy Tribal” mission of the TRIFED is to create an “Atmanirbhar Bharat”. It is aligned to the Government’s guiding principle of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” and the Prime Minister’s Sankalp to set up, 50,000 VDVKs in the country to promote enterprise through value addition and marketing of tribal products. The Mission will be centered around the message of “Mera Van, Mera Dhan Mera Udyam”.
TRIFED is working on the transformation from the Van Dhan mode to Tribal enterprise mode. By clustering these Van Dhan Vikas Kendras into Van Dhan clusters and enterprises, the aim is to achieve economies of scale and promote high value addition produce.
To further institutionalise the Van Dhan Vikas Kendra Clusters, TRIFED, under the aegis of Ministry of Tribal Affairs, is driving convergences with different ministries and organisations.
It has MoUs in place with different ministries such as MSME, MoFPI and Ministry of Rural Development to align the scheme with similar programmes of these Ministries, resulting in the convergence of Van Dhan Vikas Kendras and its clusters with SFURTI, ESDP from MSME, Food Parks Scheme of MoFPI and NRLM, within M/oRural Development.
These initiatives will be centred around the constitutional obligations under the Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA) and the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA) to empower tribals living in the forest areas.
TRIFED, in association with Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) is also implementing two “TRIFOOD” projects at Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh and Raigad in Maharashtra under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana. These two MFP processing units will operate in a hub and spoke model with the Van Dhan units which will be the feeder units. This willbenefit the associated Tribal households. TRIFED is exploring the setting up of similar MFP based Industrial parks in partnership with State Governments of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and other states.
The Enterprise approach will provide economies of scale and help in fostering Tribal entrepreneurship in large scale with participation of NGOs, creating tribal owned , tribal managed production units while leveraging all existing funds and resource pools.
The Mission envisages setting up of 200 VanDhan Producer Companies under a Special Purpose Vehicle with a network of 3000 MFP Collection centers in Haat Bazaars, 600 Godowns under MSP for MFP scheme, Setting up of 200 Mini TRIFOOD Units and 100 Common Facility Centers, Setting up of 100 TRIFOOD parks within 275 (1) districts and DMF, Development of 100 embellishment (SFURTI) clusters under MSME, Setting up of 200 Tribes India retail stores and building ecommerce platforms for TRIFOOD and Tribes India brands.
Through the successful implementation of these planned initiatives in the next year, TRIFED is working towards a complete transformation of the tribal ecosystem across the country!